According to CNN, Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina stated that Aryna Sabalenka made the handshake snub worse by lingering at the net.

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CNN  — 

Elina Svitolina, a Ukrainian tennis player, expressed confusion over why Aryna Sabalenka, her opponent from Belarus, approached the net for a handshake after their French Open match.

Since resuming her tennis career after giving birth to her first child last year, Svitolina has chosen not to shake hands with Russian and Belarusian players due to the ongoing war in her home country.

However, Sabalenka, who advanced to the semifinals at Roland Garros after winning 6-4 6-4 on Tuesday, stood at the net to acknowledge Svitolina.

“I’m not sure what she was waiting for, honestly, because I made it clear in my statements that I wanted to shake hands,” said the former third-ranked player, speaking to the press.

She expressed, “At first, I was unsure about what you were doing. I always make my stance clear during press conferences, so I was confused.”

Svitolina (right) walks off the court after her defeat against Sabalenka.

Sabalenka encountered a comparable situation when playing against Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk in the first round of the French Open. In that match, her opponent also did not shake hands before leaving the court.

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 04: Elina Svitolina of Ukraine celebrates a point against Darya Kasatkina during the Women's Singles Fourth Round match on Day Eight of the 2023 French Open at Roland Garros on June 04, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

On June 4, 2023 in Paris, France, Elina Svitolina from Ukraine triumphantly celebrates a point against Darya Kasatkina during their Women’s Singles Fourth Round match at the 2023 French Open at Roland Garros. After the match, Svitolina praises her opponent from Russia for her bravery. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Following her third and fourth matches, Sabalenka chose not to attend the usual post-match press conferences, citing concerns for her safety after attending one last Wednesday.

Nevertheless, she participated in a standard press conference following the quarterfinal and mentioned that she stayed near the net due to her natural reflexes.

The second-ranked player in the world restated her opposition to the conflict in Ukraine and expressed her consistent adherence to the press conference protocol.

“I am always honest in my responses,” Sabalenka stated to the media. “I truly regret not being able to attend. I had trouble sleeping because negative thoughts were running through my mind.”

I regret not being able to attend, as I have great admiration for all of you. Thank you for taking the time to come and show interest in me.

Sabalenka plays a backhand against Svitolina.

When questioned about whether Sabalenka had exacerbated the handshake issue by staying at the net, Svitolina replied, “Yes, I believe so, unfortunately.”

Even though she took a break from playing tennis, the 28-year-old Svitolina had a successful performance at the French Open. She won her 17th WTA title in Strasbourg before the tournament began.

She was able to match Sabalenka’s level on Court Philippe-Chatrier for a large portion of the first set and then took an early lead in the second set in an attempt to make a comeback.

However, Sabalenka’s strong performance at the baseline proved to be too much for Svitolina, as she was able to secure two breaks of serve and win the match in straight sets.

The winner of the Australian Open had a total of 30 successful shots compared to Svitolina’s seven in the match. They will now compete against Karolina Muchova from the Czech Republic on Thursday for a chance to advance to the French Open final.


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